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THEME IN A NUTSHELL

The expansion of vocabulary in modern English depends chiefly on word-formation.

Means of word-formation:

Affixation: (30%-40% of new words)

Compounding: (28%-30%)

Conversion: (26%)

Shortening (including clipping & acronymy): (8%-10%)

Blending: (1%-5%)

I. Affixation: (derivation) such words can be called derivatives. Including prefixation & suffixation.

Prefixation does not change the word-class of the stem but its meaning.

Nine groups on a semantic basis:

1. negative (apolitical, disobey, injustice (illegal, irresistible, immature), non-smoker, unwilling)

2. reversative (decentrlize, disunite, unhorse)

3. pejorative (maltreat, mistrust, pseudo-friend)

4. degree or size (archbishop, extra-strong, hyperactive, macrocosm, microcomputer, minielection, outlive, overweight, subheading, superfreeze, surtax, ultra-conservative, underdevelped)

5. orientation and attitude (anti-nuclear, contra-flow, counteract, pro-democracy)

6. locative (extramarital, forehead, internet, intra-party, telecommunication, trans-world)

7. time and order (ex-wife, foretell, postwar, pre-prepare, reconsider)

8. number (bicycle, multimedia, polysyllable, semi-naked, hemisphere, tricycle, uniform, monorail)

9. miscellaneous (autobiography, neo-Nazi, pan-European, vice-chairman)

Suffixation changes the word class and the grammatical function of stems. It has only a small semantic role.

* Noun suffixes: deverbal nouns and denominal nouns.

Denominal nouns:

1. To be concrete nouns (profit – profiteer, teenage – teenager , host –hostess, cigar –cigarette, book –booklet )

2. To be abstract nouns (mile – mileage, official – officialdom, slave – slavery, adult – adulthood, farm – farming, terror – terrorism, friend – friendship)

Deverbal nouns:

1. To be people (assist – assistant, employ –employee, respond – respondent, teach –teacher, visit – visitor)

2. To be abstract nouns of action, result, process, state (marry – marriage, refuse – refusal, accept – acceptance, compose – composition, pronounce – pronunciation, decide – decision, operate – operation, exist – existence, build – building, state – statement.)

De-adjective nouns: (popularity, largeness)

Both nouns and adjectives (China – Chinese, America – American, art – artist)

* Adjective suffixes

1. Denominal suffixes (wooded, successful, childish, priceless, dreamlike, friendly, smoky, cultural, essential, periodical, picturesque, economic, vigorous, rebellious, courteous)

classic example, classical music

comic opera, comical looking

historic city, historical book

economic crisis, economical stove

electric light, electrical engineer

2. Deverbal suffixes (washable, permissible, active, talkative, conclusive)

* Adverb suffixes (clearly, homeward, downwards, clockwise)

* Verb suffixes (origin – originate, short –shorten, solid – solidify, symbol – symbolize)

II. Compounding (Composition): the formation of new words by joining two or more stems. A compound is a lexical unit consisting of more than one stem and functioning both grammatically and semantically as a single word.



Three forms: solid (silkworm), hyphenated (honey-bee), and open (tear gas).

Compare with free phrases:

1. Phonetic features: In compounds, the word stress occurs on the first element. In free phrases, on the second element. (a ‘black horse --- a black ‘horse)

2. Semantic features: Every compound should express a single idea.

3. Grammatical features: 1. A compound tends to play a single grammatical role in a sentence, for example, a verb, a noun, or an adjective. (bad-mouth used as a verb: He bad-mouthed me.) 2. In adjective-noun compounds, the adjective element cannot take inflectional suffixes. (red tap – reddest tape)

Formation of compounds

1. noun compounds (n+n, n+v, v+n, a+n, n+v-ing, v-ing+n, n+v-er, adv+v, v+adv, v-ing+adv, adv+v-ing)

2. adjective compounds (n+v-ing, a+v-ing, n+a, a+a, n+v-ed, a/adv+v-ed, n/a+n-ed, num+n, num+n-ed, adv+v-ing, v-ed+adv)

3. verb compounds: through conversion and through backformation.

Through conversion: nicknameto nickname

Through backformation: chain-smokerto chain-smoke

III. Conversion (Functional shift) the formation of new words by converting words of one class to another class. Words produced by conversion are primarily nouns, adjective and noun. And the most productive are taking place between noun and verb.

Functional shift: This is a method of turning words of one part of speech to those of a different part of speech, they are new only in a grammatical sense.

Zero-derivation: no addition of an affix when conversion.

Conversion to noun

Verb to noun

1. State (doubt);

2. Event or activity (search);

3. Result of the action (find);

4. Doer of the action (help);

5. Tool or instrument to do the action with (wrap);

6. Place of the action (walk).

* Usually they can be used with have, take, make, give.

* Words like hand-out, stand-by, teach-in, shut down are all convert from phrasal verb.

Adjective to noun

Words fully converted:

1. Common adjectives (a white, a native)

2. Participles and others (a given, newly-weds)

Words partially converted: the poor (a group of the kind); the deceased (a single person)

Miscellaneous conversion: a with, a without, an also-ran, a never-was, a must, isms, ifs, buts, ups and downs, ins and outs, pros and cons.

Conversion to verbs

Noun to verb

1. to put in or on N: to pocket the money

2. to give N or to provide with N: to shelter the refugees

3. to remove N from: to skin the lamb

4. to do with N: to knife the steak

5. to be or act as N: to nurse the baby

6. to make or change into N: to orphan the boy

7. to send or go by N: to mail the letter; to bicycle/helicopter/boat/motor (intransitive)

Adjective to verb

They can be used either transitively to mean “to make … adjective (to empty the bottle)” or intransitively “to become adjective (the bottle began to empty)”.

More words: yellow, wet, empty, dim, dirty, warm, cool, slow, clear, dry, narrow.

Transitive verbs: still, forward, free, bare, blind;

Intransitive verbs: sour, slim.

Miscellaneous conversion

The intellectuals are muched again,

We downed a few beers.

They tut-tut the idea. She will off and do something else.

But me no but.

Voicless to voiced consonant: house, use, mouth, shelf/shelve, sheath/sheathe

IV. Blending - the formation of new words by combining parts of two words or a word plus a part of another word.

Blends or portmanteau words: smog, flush

Four major groups:

1. head + tail (motel (motor +hotel), slurb (slum +suburb))

2. head + head (comsat (communications + satellite), telex (teleprinter + exchange))

3. head + word (medicare (medical + care), Eurasia (Europe + Asia))

4. word+ tail (lunarnaut (lunar + astronaut), workfare (work + welfare))

V. Clipping -a way of shortening a long word by cutting a part off the original and using that remains instead.

Clipping words:

- vehicles: omnibus → bus, bicycle → bike, aeroplane → plane, automobile → auto, taximeter cabriolet → taxi;

- school matters: examination → exam, econ → economics, gymnastics → gym, mathematics → math, trigonometry → trig ;

- catering business: luncheon → lunch, hamburger → burger, coca cola → coke.

Four types of clipping:

1. front clipping (earthquake → quake, helicopter → copter)

2. back clipping (dormitory→ dorm, discotheque → disco)

3. front and back clipping (influenza→ flu, refrigerator → fridge)

4. phrase clipping (public house → pub, popular music → pop)

VI. Shortening (Acronymy) - the process of forming new words by joining the initialisms or acronyms, depending on the pronunciation of the words.

1. initialisms (VOA, BBC, c/o, TV, ID, TB, GHQ)

2. acronyms (NATO, AIDS, BASIC, CORE <Congress of Racial Equality>, N-bomb, D Notice)

VII. Back-formation - the method of creating words by removing the supposed suffixes. This is because many of the removed suffixes are not true suffixes but inseparable part of the words. (e.g. editor → edit; butler → bulte.)

Types of words:

1. abstract nouns (diagnosis → diagnose, donation → donate)

2. human nouns (loafer → loaf, burglar → burgle)

3. compound nouns and others (merry-making → merry-make, babysitter → babysit)

4. adjectives (lazy → laze, frivolous → frivol)


Date: 2015-01-11; view: 1260


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